Lockheed Martin, the defense firm that maintains databases for the U.S. Air Force’s ’s inspector general and legislative liaison divisions, has lost records related to over 100,000 investigations ranging from workplace disputes to fraud. A database that hosted the files became corrupted last month destroying data created from 2004 to the present date in the process. Neither Lockheed Martin or the U.S. Air Force can determine what caused the corruption but do not believe the corruption was intentional or the work of anti-American hackers. It is unclear whether or not the information lost will be able to be recovered at this point in time.
Lockheed was aware of the corruption and attempted to recover the lost information for two weeks before informing the Air Force of the error. Neither the Air Force nor Lockheed have been able to recover the information so far. The Air Force is now seeking help from cyber security experts from both the Pentagon and the private sector. Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman at the Pentagon, stated:
“We’ve kind of exhausted everything we can to recover within [the Air Force] and now we’re going to outside experts to see if they can help,”
Stefanek went on to state that the data lost contains personal information on service members such as official complaints, information gathered during the investigation of those complaints and the actions taken at the end of the investigation. The data base also held information on more serious issues such violations of law and policy, allegations or reprisal against whistle-blowers, Freedom of Information Act requests and Congressional inquiries.
Lockheed has refused to answer any specific questions about the loss of data but has stated some of the lost data could be backed up at local bases where the incidents originated.
The database was originally created to allow the Inspector General to quickly and efficiently make decisions about law and policy violations. It was instituted after a case involving a constituent from Virginia took over two years to reach a conclusion. It was considered a flagrant violation of the 180-day statutory requirement for case disposition. Air Force officials are concerned that the data loss will further delay investigations.